24 Hours In Dubai - Your Best Itinerary
Dubai offers so much to see and experience, so it will take days or even weeks to see even half of the city’s many natural and man-made attractions. Still, as this international hub sees many people on short layovers, there is more than enough to provide visitors with fun and unforgettable experiences in just 24 hours. Of course you'll have to decide the ones you want to prioritize and budget your time accordingly. It's a lot of leg-work, but you can divide your time between the old and new parts of the city to see how much Dubai has changed over the past few decades.
Here’s your best 24-hour itinerary for a well-rounded experience with a taste of the city's culture, history, cuisine, and glamour:
4:30 AM - Hot Air Balloon Ride and Breakfast
A hot-air balloon flight at sunrise will leave you marveling at the enormity and tranquillity of the desert stretching endlessly to the horizon. The fine sand glows a rich reddish-gold in the dawn light while the beautiful scene of near-endless sand dunes dotted with tarmac road, green oasis and wandering camels unfolds below. When you land, take a short ride to an authentic Bedouin camp for a gourmet breakfast while enjoying the serenity of the desert.
10:00 AM - Exploring the Souks (Souqs)
These traditional stalls existed long before there were skyscrapers in Dubai. Make your way to Deira and check out the two most popular souks – the Gold and Spice Souks. As one of the largest retail gold markets in the world, Dubai’s Gold Souk is filled with the world’s most extravagant and expensive gold in the world, from raw gold materials to handcrafted jewelry. The spice souk, on the other hand, boasts mounds of spices and herbs that you can savour and purchase so you have something to take home.
11:30 AM - Dubai Creek
Situated just directly out front of the Souks, it is hard to miss the Dubai Creek. Admire the city skyline from this end before hopping on a Abra (a long boat) to reach the other side of the creek. This ride costs very little but is a unique way to see different parts of the city.
12:30 PM - Lunch
For lunch, you could indulge in some of the best traditional street food in Dubai. From shawarma and specially prepared kebabs, to chicken tikkas and the famous Kunafa at Feras Al Diyafa Sweets, a tasty Middle Eastern dessert made of cheese pastry soaked in sweet syrup, it promises to be a delightful culinary experience.
2: 00 - 5: 00 PM Sightseeing/Shopping in Dubai Mall
You simply cannot pass up visiting a mall with its own aquarium and theme park. Dubai Mall is the world’s second largest mall with over 1,000 stores among its 4 levels. It effortlessly delivers offers a distinctive mix of world-class leisure, dining, shopping, and entertainment attractions in a space so vast you may need a golf buggy to fully navigate.
6:00 PM – The Dubai Fountain
The city is known for its spectacular sights and the Dubai Fountain, located in front of the Burj Khalifa, is definitely one to witness. It is the world's largest choreographed fountain system enthralling visitors with display lights and dancing water shows in sync with groovy music. Just make sure you bring your camera as it promises to be one of the key highlights of your tour.
7:30 PM – Dinner and Amazing Views at The Burj Khalifa
As if the view on the ground was not enough, head on up the tallest building on the planet for a spot of dinner and some more stupendous views. Standing at over 828 meters high, the Burj Khalifa boasts three sky lobbies with amenities such as pools, spas, restaurants, and juice bars are located.
10:00 pm – Bed or Enjoy the City’s Nightlife
The start to your day and the non-stop sightseeing activities may take its toll by this time, in which case, it’s best to head to bed. If you’re still up for it, however, you can end your day with an exciting dhow cruise. Feast your eyes and camera lenses on the scintillating scenes as the dhow cruises the Dubai Marina.
Congratulations, you’ve just conquered Dubai in 24 hours! You can use this guide to prioritize the sights you want to enjoy or swap some in for others. Be sure to take advantage of every facility to save on time, such as hotel - airport pickup and drops.